The promises pertaining to the Kingdom, as given in the covenants, will be strictly fulfilled.
PROPOSITION 52. The promises pertaining to the Kingdom, as given in the covenants, will be strictly fulfilled.
This already follows from Props. 4, 21, 22, 23, 31, 32, 33, 35, 39, 40, 42, 43, 44, 47, 48, 49, 50, and 51. A covenant must, in the nature of the case, be understood by the parties to whom it is given; the language employed is that ordinarily used, so that the ideas intended may be accurately expressed. This has been shown under Prop. 48. In connection with the same, it is sufficient to say that a partial literal fulfilment in the coming of the Seed, should influence us to believe that the remainder will likewise be thus verified.
Obs. 1. Among the promises that remain unfulfilled, but which we claim shall be fully realized in their plain grammatical sense, one is selected that is either generally denied or totally explained away. We refer to the express, most explicit promise in the Davidic covenant (comp. Prop. 49, III.), that David’s Son (viz.: Jesus Christ, as the Scriptures testify) should personally occupy and reign on David’s throne and in David’s kingdom, i.e. He should appear as the Theocratic King over the restored Theocratic Kingdom. This possession of the Davidic throne and Kingdom is corroborated by the equally precise phraseology of the prophets and the angel, as e.g. Isa. 9:6–7; Jer. 33:14–16; Luke 1:30–33. That David himself expected a literal fulfilment of the promise is evident from his language which follows the giving of the covenant; and in this literal anticipation of the promise he returns thanks to God and praises Him for thus selecting his house for honor and in thus establishing it for the ages, even forever (2 Sam. 7:8, etc., 1 Chron. 17:16, etc.). It is presumption to suppose that David returned thanks, and thus prayed under a mistaken idea of the nature of the covenant. The reasons for a literal fulfilment follow in the next observation.[*]
Note. Luther on the Second Psalm (quoted by Dr. Seiss, Last Times, p. 254) uses language indicative of faith in the grammatical sense of the covenant, in a literal personal reigning of Jesus Christ on the throne of David, that we reproduce it. “Christ was appointed King upon the holy Mount Zion. This is particularly to be remarked; for the Holy Ghost mentions the corporeal Zion, that we may be assured that this King is divinely appointed, and is a real Man.… The Person and the place are appointed and made known. The Person is the Son of God, and He is King in Zion; that is, the Son of David, and the heir of David; and He who was promised to David to be the King over the circumcised people over whom David reigned. We are, therefore, to expect this man to teach in Zion, and to reveal Himself in Zion, because He is appointed of God to be King in Zion.… The eternal Father Himself crowned Him to be King of Zion, on Mount Zion, in the City of Jerusalem.… He is the Son of God, yet born a man corporeally, that He might receive the throne of His Father David, and rule in Zion.” Even extravagance and fanaticism has attempted to cloak its enormities by using the covenanted language, as e.g. John of Leyden (with the Anabaptists at Munster, Michelet’s Life of Luther, p. 234) was ordained to reign over the whole earth, professing (according to a prophet who, 1534 announced it) “to occupy the throne of David”—the absurdity of which appears that no throne of David was ever at Munster (hence he spiritualized it to make it applicable), and the enormity is aggravated by assuming that which only belongs to Jesus the Christ.
Obs. 2. If the Davidic throne and Kingdom is to be understood literally, then all other promises necessarily follow; and as the reception of this literal fulfilment forms the main difficulty in the minds of many, a brief statement of reasons why it must be received, is in place. 1. It is solemnly covenanted, confirmed by oath, and hence cannot be altered or broken. 2. The grammatical sense alone is becoming a covenant. 3. The impression made on David, if erroneous, is disparaging to his prophetical office. 4. The conviction of Solomon (2 Chron. 6:14–16) was that it referred to the literal throne and Kingdom. 5. Solomon claims that the covenant was fulfilled in himself, but only in so far that he too as David’s son sat on David’s throne. Some from this wrongfully infer that the entire promise is conditional over against the most express declarations to the contrary as to the distinguished One, the pre-eminent Seed. It was, indeed, conditional as to the ordinary seed of David (comp. Ps. 89:30–34, and see force of “nevertheless,” etc.), and if his seed would have yielded obedience, David’s throne whould never have been vacated until the Seed, par excellence, came; but being disobedient, the throne was overthrown, and will remain thus “a tabernacle fallen down,” “a house desolate,” until rebuilt and restored by the Seed. The reader will not fail to observe that if fulfilled in Solomon, and not having respect unto the Seed, how incongruous and irrelevant would be the prophecies given afterward, as e.g. Jer. 33:17–26, etc. 6. The language is that ordinarily used to denote the literal throne and Kingdom of David, as illustrated in Jer. 17:25 and 22:4. 7. The prophets adopt the same language, and its constant reiteration under Divine guidance is evidence that the plain grammatical sense is the one intended. 8. The prevailing belief of centuries, a national faith, engendered by the language, under the teaching of inspired men, indicates how the language is to be understood. 9. This throne and Kingdom is one of promise and inheritance (Prop. 122), and hence refers not to the Divinity but to the Humanity of Jesus (comp. Props. 82–85). 10. The same is distinctively promised to David’s Son “according to the flesh” to be actually realized, and, therefore, He must appear the Theocratic King as promised. 11. We have not the slightest hint given that it is to be interpreted in any other way than a literal one; any other is the result of pure inference (as will be shown). 12. Any other view than that of a literal interpretation involves the grossest self-contradiction (as seen in Obs. 3). 13. The denial of a literal reception of the covenant robs the heir of His covenanted inheritance (comp. e.g. Prop. 122). 14. No grammatical rule can be laid down which will make David’s throne to be the Father’s throne in the third heaven. 15. That if the latter is attempted under the notion of “symbolical” or “typical,” then the credibility and meaning of the covenants are left to the interpretations of men, and David himself becomes “the symbol” or “type” (creature as he is) of the Creator. 16. That if David’s throne is the Father’s throne in heaven (the usual interpretation), then it must have existed forever. 17. If such covenanted promises are to be received figuratively, it is inconceivable that they should be given in their present form without some direct affirmation, in some place, of their figurative nature, God foreseeing (if not literal) that for centuries they would be pre-eminently calculated to excite and foster false expectations, e.g. even from David to Christ. 18. God is faithful in His promises, and deceives no one in the language of His covenants. 19. No necessity existed why, if this throne promised to David’s Son meant something else, the throne should be so definitely promised in the form given. 20. The identical throne and Kingdom overthrown are the ones restored. 21. But the main, direct reasons for receiving the literal covenanted language will be given under Props. 81, 122, 111, 112, 114, 117, 201, 203, 204, etc. These, in connection with the covenants themselves, make David’s throne and Kingdom a requisite for the display of that Theocratic ordering which God has already instituted (but now holds in abeyance until the preparations are completed) for the restoration and exaltation of the Jewish nation (which is preserved for this purpose), for the salvation of the human race (which comes under the Theocratic blessing), and for the dominion of a renewed, curse-delivered world (the Theocratic arrangement making this possible and a realization). Such a throne and Kingdom are necessary to preserve the Divine Unity of Purpose in the already proposed Theocratic line. Thus early in our argument reference is made to this point, not so much to prove it as to direct the reader’s attention to it, because it is a goal to which the path of Scripture directly leads us, as it led the Primitive Church.
Obs. 3. The reasons urged for a non-literal fulfilment must also be fairly presented, so that the reader may compare them with those given on the other side. Storr (Diss. on the Meaning of the Kingdom of Heaven) informs us that Christ’s sitting on David’s throne, etc., was verified by His descent from David, by His being born in David’s land, by His claiming to be King of the Jews, and by His exhibiting, after His exaltation, the first fruits of His reign “within the ancient empire of David.” But still feeling a deficiency—for none of these things meet the covenanted conditions—he goes on to say: “The throne of Christ cannot be called the throne of David except figuratively; inasmuch as that divine government over the Israelites which was transferred to David and his posterity as to the Sons of God, the King of the Israelites, was a shadow and image of the divine government over the universe, conferred upon that man who sprang from the stock of David, and who was much more truly the Son of God. Which being established, it follows that Christ sits not on the throne of David itself, but on the antetype.” And this showing that He “sits not on the throne of David,” he calls “a real succession to David’s place.” This is grounded on the assumption that some fulfilment of the covenanted promise is required, and this was the best that offered, viz.: to show that Jesus is not on David’s throne, and that it is not really demanded, refuge being sought under another sense, i.e. a typical. But this is abundantly refuted, (a) by covenant promises containing, in the nature of the case, no typical promises (Prop. 48); (b) by the personal antetypical language of the covenant itself, promising a lineal descendant of David’s to sit on his throne and establish his Kingdom forever (Prop. 49); (c) by the direct connection it sustains to the Jewish nation (Props. 47, 111–114, etc.); (d) by the time, as predicted, when it shall be realized (Props. 66, 68, 120, 121, etc.); (e) by overlooking the postponement of the covenanted Kingdom (Props. 54–76); (f) by misapprehending the nature of the Davidic Kingdom as a real Theocratic Kingdom (Prop. 31); (g) by forgetting that it is “the fallen down” throne and Kingdom (which shows that it is no type) that is to be restored (Prop. 32); (h) by mistaking the Divine Sovereignty for the covenanted Kingdom (Props. 79, 80); (i) by ignoring Christ’s inheritance (Prop. 122), and the distinctive features allied with its restoration, as e.g. place of manifested royalty (Prop. 168), a visibly manifested Theocracy (Prop. 117), pre-millennial Advent (Prop. 121), the visible reign of Jesus (Props. 131, 132, 133), etc. The fact is, that the language of the covenant does not fulfil the conditions of typical language, for the throne and Kingdom of David were already incorporated (Props. 28, 49) as the real, undoubted Kingdom of God—a Theocracy. There is no Scriptural authority for constituting it a type; it is mere human inference, because its language cannot otherwise be made to fit into a system or theory. It is unreasonable to make it a type, because it makes a throne cast down the type of an eternal one in heaven, and David a type of the Father, which is an unfit application, there being no proper analogy between them. Such a view entirely overlooks the important and essential fact, that this throne and Kingdom was covenanted, not to the Son of God (for it, in virtue of His Theocratic relationship, already belongs to Him as God, and no covenant is necessary), but to the Son of Man (comp. Props. 81, 82, 83). It is sadly defective in making the promises of such a nature, that pious Israelites, John the Baptist, and the disciples, were deceived by them, resting their faith and hope not in a reality, but in misconceived figures of speech, thus placing the Church before and at the First Advent in an exceeding low state of intelligence.[*]
Note. Horne’s (Introd. vol. 1, p. 386) declaration concerning types is commended to the consideration of those who adopt this typical view: “But if we assert, that a person or thing was designed to prefigure another person or thing when no such prefiguration has been declared by divine authority, we make an assertion for which we neither have, nor can have, the slightest foundation.” To this it is alleged that Christ is called David, and hence David must be a type (others claim that it is mystical to make David mean Christ); but this does not follow, it being a common figure of speech indicative of Christ’s occupying the station, etc., of David, being his legal royal descendant, as is seen in the line of emperors, occupying the throne of Cęsar, calling themselves Cęsars. The name itself is evidence of the restoration of the Davidic throne and kingdom, being appropriately, significantly, and forcibly applied to the Messiah. (Killen, in The Old Cath. Church, quotes from Bin. Council, 3, P. 1, 184, how even the “most religious” emperor, Constantine Pogonatus, was complimented as “a new David” whom “God raised up,” etc. What men employ by way of flattery, God uses to designate the certain restored Davidic royalty.)
In view of the importance of this promise, and the persistent attacks against its literal fulfilment, we present additional remarks urged by others in opposition to our belief. Thus e.g. the strictures contained in The Kingdom of Grace embrace the following: (1.) That Christ “was King of the Jews, and, of course, the rightful heir of David’s throne, but never once did He set up any claim to the literal and material throne on which David sat.” From this we are to infer that Jesus waived His right, and does yet. It is taken for granted, that since there has been no such a literal fulfilment, there never will be one, and that, therefore, the whole matter must be understood spiritually. That is, we are to do just as the unbelieving Jews did: because such a Kingdom has not appeared, we are to deny that He, “the rightful Heir,” will ever establish it. Would it not be more prudent and wise to ponder over the reasons assigned for its postponement, Props. 66–68? (2) That David’s throne was “in dust,” and to raise it up would be “absurd.” The absurdity is not in the promise of restoring a fallen throne, but in the supposition that the throne of a Kingdom is necessarily confined to a certain chair or seat. (3) Referring to Winthrop’s Lectures, where it is stated (as all Millenarians hold), that risen, changed, glorified saints are rulers and princes in this Kingdom (comp. Prop. 154), and that it is of heavenly (being Theocratic) origin, established under heavenly power, it is replied, that this involves a contradiction, because David’s throne was not of heavenly origin, and risen saints were not its princes. This objection (more fully answered in succeeding Propositions) is set aside by the simple fact that the Theocratic-Davidic rule was of heavenly origin (Props. 28, 31), for God chose David, adopted his throne and Kingdom, calling it “His throne,” and gives it as an inheritance to the Seed selected by Himself, to which Seed He unites Himself in the strictest Theocratic relationship; and the re-establishment at the Sec. Advent is not by earthly but heavenly power, being done by Christ and His saints. The predictions of David, in the very nature of the case, imply an immortal Ruler. Change in the officials and government of a Kingdom does not destroy its identity, provided the regular succession (a descendant of David’s), the nationality (restored Jewish nation), and locality (Palestine) are preserved. (4) Jesus refused to be made King of the Jews; now if the rightful heir and the covenant required it, He would have acceded to the wishes of the Jews. This objection overlooks the reasons assigned under Props. 57, 58, 65, 66, 67, and 68, that the nation, in its representative men, rejected Him and that the Kingdom was postponed. But a small and feeble proportion of the nation desired to make Him King; the leading, ruling class were persistent in refusing Him as the Messiah. (5) At His death Christ said “It is finished,” and as many centuries have passed since that declaration and David’s throne has remained vacant, it is evident that it will never be claimed in a literal sense. Here certainly is faith! If such argumentation (does it deserve to be called such?) can be admitted, then, as infidels do, we may deny all that is future, under the plea that “it is finished.” The writer overlooks the plainly stated fact, that “the times of the Gentiles” (Prop. 66, etc.) must intervene before the claim is again made and realized.
Fairbairn (On Prophecy) reiterates some of the previous statements, insists upon the covenant being “figurative and symbolical,” saying: “that He was destined to occupy the throne and Kingdom of David, meant simply, that He was, like David, to hold the place of King over God’s heritage, and to do to the full what David could do only in the most partial and imperfect manner—bring deliverance, safety, and blessing to the people of God.” If this was all that is meant, why conceal it then under a form of expression which deceived the Jewish nation and the Primitive Church? Why identify it with a restored fallen throne and a restored punished Jewish nation? Why so concisely link together David’s throne, Kingdom, people, land, and explain that it is only to be realized when the same shall be restored from a downfallen, ruined, and desolate condition continued on through the allotted “times of the Gentiles?” The idea of Fairbairn’s is far from exhausting its meaning, and the identification of the promise with other things (as e.g. the rebuilding of ruined, desolate cities, etc.) forbids such a transformation. The reasons that urge Fairbairn to the conclusion presented, are mainly two: first, that no other fulfilment than this can be found to have taken place, and, therefore, this one must be accepted to meet the necessities of the case; and secondly, that for Christ to descend from heaven and occupy David’s throne as literally predicted would be a lowering or degrading of His dignity, position, etc. As to the first supposition: it is sufficient now to say that the non-fulfilment of the literal sense does not prove it to be false. Wisdom suggests that we first ascertain, before condemning it, whether it is not part of the Divine Purpose to postpone its fulfilment, just as He has postponed the restoration of the Jews. It took a long time before the Seed promised came and before His coming the non-fulfilment of what afterward literally occurred, was no reason to spiritualize the promise away; and so again, it may require a long period before the remainder is fulfilled. The truth is, that in considering this subject the Scriptures which teach the delay, the postponement, are not allowed to testify. (Comp. e.g. Props. 54–68). These essential witnesses, showing that delay, or postponement, is reconcilable with God’s promises, are not admitted, and, of course, the view entertained must be one-sided. As to the second supposition: We are willing to accept covenanted promises and predictions as written, without setting ourselves up as a judge to decide whether they agree with our sense of proprieties, or our notion of the fitness of things. (Comp. Prop. 203, where this objection is considered.) The Jews did this at the First Advent, and they made a fearful mistake. Those who, honestly but mistakenly, speak so degradingly of this throne and Kingdom forget that it is a Theocratic throne and Kingdom (Prop. 31), and they might just as well write of God lowering His majesty, etc., when He condescended to act in the capacity of earthly Ruler over the Jewish nation. Even if we had no Scripture to show that such a reign was an exalting of the Humanity of Jesus, that it stood intimately related to the perfection of His work as Redeemer, that the Redemption of the saints, the Jewish nation, the Gentiles, the race as a race, and the groaning, sin-cursed world, is embraced in it (comp. e.g. Props. 196, 197, 200, 202, etc.)—even if these glorious and ennobling things were not recorded, we would not permit our faith in such promises to waver, but with these added it would be folly for us to deny them. The misapprehension here probably arises from thinking that Jesus must lower Himself to be “a King on the earthly model of David.” He was a Son of David’s, but yet far more than a Son, even David’s Lord (being God-man—i.e. having in His own Person the real Theocratic Rulership united), and hence the promises (while including as a central point the restored Davidic throne and Kingdom) in view of His immortality. His attendant Rulers, the greatness and power of His administration, the extension into universal dominion, the splendor and majesty of His person and surroundings, the Supernatural exerted and manifested, the wonderful works performed, have the same Theocratic-Davidic throne immeasurably augmented and glorified—to subserve certain purposes—when once occupied by this august Theocratic Personage. Prophecy unites in asserting the greatness of this reign in exulting strains. It is not in our place to say that these things cannot take place without Christ’s descending to the level of an earthly monarch, or without a diminution of His majesty, lest, peradventure, we be found underrating, disparaging, despising, and even sneering at His glory. God’s work is “a strange work.”
Then there are others (as e.g. Westminster Review, Oct. 1861, Art. 5) who acknowledge that such a restored Davidic throne and Kingdom is promised, was entertained by the Jews, etc., but utterly reject it on the ground of its being Jewish imagination, partialism, and national pride. The prophetic descriptions are indeed sometimes grand, but merely poetic; sometimes sublime, but altogether human. (Every writer of this kind is very careful not to inform us how “Jewish partialism and pride” could conjoin with this so much that is humiliating and degrading to the nation—as e.g. the, long fall of the nation, remaining under Gentile domination, etc.—preliminary to the Kingdom.) We give one extract, taken from the review mentioned, as illustrative of the spirit of those who speak of this matter as “a Messianic fiction,” or as “a Christianized Messianic expectation.” Thus, the writer declares the Apocalypse “proclaims to all ages the intense reality, the frenzied fanaticism, the splendid superstition, and Berserker transport, of one great dreamer of this glorious vision, the St. John of Patmos, the author of the Christian Apocalypse.” From persons who treat the reign of Christ and of His saints in this condemnatory strain, no favor need to be anticipated in behalf of covenanted promise. To them it is simply an idle dream or Jewish enthusiasm.
Eminent men (as e.g. Lange, Bremen Lectures, Lect. 8, p. 242) make the Theocracy a figure or type of a concealed, invisible Kingdom in the church. But the reader can readily see that this is disproven by the predictions that the same kingdom overthrown shall be re-established; by its covenanted relationship which forbids any such transmutation; and even by the fact that no correct antetype exists if such an invisible Messianic Kingdom is admitted, for the one was a real outward Theocratic Kingdom, and this one is invisible and hence unrecognizable; the one had God an accessible Ruler to consult in cases of difficulty, this one has a God not thus accessible, etc. But we need not repeat what has been said previously.
Obs. 4. No sophistry in spiritualizing, symbolizing, or typicalizing can transmute the promise of the Davidic throne and Kingdom into something else, as e.g. into the Father’s throne, the Divine Sovereignty, the Kingdom of Grace, Gospel Dispensation, etc., for the simple reason that the identical throne and Kingdom, now overturned, is the one that is promised to the Messiah to be re-established by Himself, as e.g. Amos 9:11; Acts 15:16; Zech. 2:12; Zech. 1:16, 17, etc. (with which compare Props. 33, 122, etc.). The Theocratic crown cast down, the Theocratic throne overturned, the Theocratic Kingdom overthrown, is the crown, throne, and Kingdom that the Christ is to restore. These belong to Christ by “right” (Ezek. 31:18), and will be “given to Him” (Prop. 83). These, too, are linked with a restoration of the Jewish nation, Jer. 33:14; Micah 4:6, 8, etc. (Props. 111–114). These facts—the existence of the throne at one time, its non-existence for a period, its restoration again, its connection at the restoration with the ancient people and land that formed the original Kingdom—these facts, as well as many others that will be brought forward, indicate, as fully as language can possibly express it, that the ancient faith in covenanted language must not be discarded through Gentile “high-mindedness.” The entire tenor and analogy of prediction unmistakably proves this; and, therefore, without an express declaration to the contrary, we ought not, dare not, change the sense that is given. Let men ridicule and sneer at our infirmity; it is the sense contained in the language, and we can wait for God’s own time of vindication and verification.
Obs. 5. The Divine nature of the Davidic Kingdom is admitted by Storr, Fairbairn, and others. So that our opponents confess, what has already been proven (Props. 28, 31, etc.), that David sat upon “the throne of the Kingdom of Jehovah,” It was truly a Theocratic Kingdom; and this Theocratic basis is the reason why God takes such an interest in its re-establishment. It is Christ’s “inheritance,” because it is Theocratic; and it is this Divine aspect which makes it, as represented, worthy of the Son of Man.
Obs. 6. Adhering to the Primitive faith we can consistently explain, what Reuss (His. Ch. Apos. Age, p. 32) finds, from his standpoint, a difficult matter, viz.: “that the predictions and hopes of the prophets are invariably associated with the earthly and political existence of the nation, and that they never, in their most ideal representation of the future, break through the circle of conditions belonging to that existence.” These are honest, frank words, and we firmly hold to them, asking, why seek to break through that circle of conditions now? Do they not still exist in the Theocratic ordering? Does the calling of the Gentiles alter or invalidate them? We shall presently see, in the preaching of the Kingdom, etc., that the covenanted relationship of the Jewish nation imperatively demands it.
Obs. 7. This feature again reminds us that “the keystone of the whole system” (i.e. Millenarian) is not to be found, as Prof. Sanborn (Essay on Mill.), in the pre-Millennial Advent (however indispensable), but in the covenants. The promises are not in the Sec. Advent, but in the covenants and prophecies based on them; the Advent being only the necessary means toward their accomplishment.
Obs. 8. Many persons, aside from infidels who ridicule this Davidic throne and Kingdom, and the precious promises linked with them, through mistaken zeal, or a conscientious desire to vindicate the Word spiritualized, or mere passion engendered by controversy, employ the most slighting language respecting this throne and Kingdom. They insist that it “must be” spiritually comprehended, or else it is utterly unworthy of belief, being “carnal,” “fleshly,” etc. They gravely tell us—overlooking its Theocratic basis founded by God Himself—that it is impossible that such a Kingdom should be manifested, because of Christ’s relationship to the Almighty.[*]
Obs. 9. The extremely guarded language of Scripture on this point, so as not to conflict with the covenanted promise, should lead the student to reflection. Thus e.g. in Rev. 3:21 two thrones are mentioned, the Father’s throne and Christ’s throne, and these are distinguished the one from the other (Prop. 117). In Christ’s typical triumphal entry into Jerusalem, when the people exclaimed (Mark 11:10), “Blessed be the Kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest,” Jesus, instead of rebuking the identification of His Kingdom with the restored Davidic, virtually allows it by defending the disciples against (Luke 19:39, Matt. 21:15, 16) the displeasure of the Pharisees. In John 18:33, Jesus, in virtue of His Theocratic position, does not deny the affirmative of Pilate’s question, “Art Thou King of the Jews?” although the circumstances might involve the charge of treason against the Roman power. In Matt. 19:28 the time of setting up the Kingdom is specified, etc. And thus through all the Scriptures, as will be shown hereafter, there is a carefully drawn distinction between what belongs to Jesus Christ because of His relationship as God, and what pertains to Him by promise, by right, by inheritance, by the redemptive work that He is accomplishing because of His Messiahship as David’s Son, the promised Theocratic King.
Obs. 10. Having all along the literal, plain grammatical sense in our favor—a sense that excited faith and hope in multitudes of Jewish and Christian hearts—the reader ought reasonably to expect that we should constantly lay stress upon this admitted fact. There is no difference of opinion as to what meaning the words in their common usage convey; this is conceded, but the question is sprung, whether this sense is to be received or another is to be entailed. Considering the matter settled against a literal sense from its non-fulfilment, is unworthy of a believer, for God’s sayings (as even unbelieving Jews have asserted, e.g. in professing to receive the Old Test. on the ground of its being God’s Word) are to be received simply on the ground of their having been given by the Almighty. This matter of interpretation must be decided from a higher position, viz.: by direct reference to the Word itself (Props. 4 and 9), and just so soon as God declares that the grammatical sense is the one not intended, then, and only then, other engrafted senses may be tolerated.
Obs. 11. Regarding the intensely warning predictions that at the very time this Kingdom is to be re-established at the Sec. Advent (Props. 66, 74, 121 etc.), the nations of the earth shall have so little faith (Props. 177–180, etc.) that they shall stand arrayed against the King—disbelieving the promises pertaining to Him—it is prudent and wise to avoid that prevalent spirit of unbelief taking this predicted direction in avoiding the literal and substituting another sense. We feel disinclined to foster such an antagonistic spirit, lest we too should receive the censure (Luke 24:25), “O fools and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken;” and lest we become of those who, by insidious interpretation, pave the way for an utter denial of Christ’s claims as David’s Son and Theocratic Heir. Let the motive of denial be prompted by the best intentions, its fruit, if in opposition to the Divine Will, will result in evil.[*]
Note. It is sad to see the frailty and perversity of human wisdom in the things of God. The Jews believed in this restored Davidic throne and Kingdom, but overlooked the foretold sufferings, death, etc. of the Messiah; the Gentiles acknowledge the sufferings and death, but ignore the Davidic throne and Kingdom, the promises literally understood. The Theocratic-Davidic inheritance of Jesus is but rarely mentioned; it is scarcely ever heard in preaching or praying; it is deemed of so little importance that Christian teaching hardly refers to it; and when reference to it is made, it sounds a note of discord in prevailing systems of theology. Let us ponder: ought promises so solemnly given, so constantly presented, so literally reiterated, so preciously confirmed, to be passed by in neglect, and even in silence? Ought they to become the objects of ridicule and reproach? No! to ignore them, or to mock them, is indicative of serious doctrinal defect.
Obs. 12. The assumption that David’s throne and Kingdom must denote some other throne and Kingdom in the third heaven never meets the contradictions that it involves, viz.: that David’s throne, etc. was never in heaven, never extended over another world, and is not fitted from its alleged “fleeting earthly” condition to designate an eternally existing throne, and that if logically carried out (from which, however, our opponents recoil), then David’s throne being “the Father’s throne,” where Christ is, David himself (for the throne is expressly identified with him) must also represent the Father! Who would be so rash as to adopt such an interpretation? and yet simple consistency demands it.[*]
Note. If the throne and Kingdom is typical, why not David also, with whom the same is constantly cojoined? But more than this: if only an enthronement in heaven is meant, why not say so at once, without leading multitudes into self-deception? Can any reason be assigned why such a matter, if contemplated, should be disguised under language eminently calculated to mislead? Would such a procedure be consistent with the professions and honor of the God of mercy and love? Why, if only this enthronement is denoted, express it in words, which fairly includes the idea of a perpetuation of the throne and Kingdom of David here on the earth? That this idea is contained in it no one denies, and so prominently too that David and his descendants, the Jews down to the First Advent, the disciples of Christ, the apostles (as e.g. admitted by Knapp, Fairbairn, etc., “up to the very eve, Acts 1:6, of Christ’s departure”), and the early church, all entertained it. This assumption passes over this general, universal belief as if it were of no moment, and carefully avoids, as a tender point, all allusion to it; but we insist that it must be honestly met and candidly explained. This, we apprehend, will be a difficult task, seeing that the true church, the pious of centuries, and even the inspired of God, and men sent out to preach, are included in such a faith; and if held to be in error, then He who sent those messages must, in a great measure (owing to the grammatical sense containing it), become responsible for the introduction and perpetuation (for where is the reproof or denial?) of such alleged error. There is no escape from this dilemma; and alas, this is seen and felt by the infidel schools now in existence, who, fortified by the prevailing authority of believers, reject everything “Jewish” as untenable, pointing with delight to the doctrinal attitude (now so antagonistic to the church’s present position) of the Primitive Church on the subject of the Kingdom (trusting in the literal sense of the promises), as an indication of gross error. Thus professed believers of the Word from assumptions plunge into strange inconsistencies, charging the entire. ancient church with erroneous doctrine in fundamental things, and furnish the weapons, manufactured to hand, for Strauss, Baur, Renan, Parker, and others. The expectations and hopes of the ancient worthies are given up to derision and scorn, and the result is that it recoils back upon the Bible itself, which in its language expresses and favors the same. The apologies tendered, which invariably reflect upon and lower the intelligence, etc., of the faithful, only make the inconsistency and antagonism more glaring. It is high time for reverent, intelligent piety to see this abuse of the Word, and aid in restoring its proper and faith-inspiring use.
Obs. 13. In the objections made to the Apocalypse by Schott and others, one is based on the fact that the royal dignity and honor is assigned to Christ as the Son of David. In addition to the arguments produced by Prof. Stuart (Com.) and others against the validity of such an objection, the strongest of all is found in this: that the covenant relationship of Jesus requires, as confirmatory and essential, just such references (Rev. 3:7, and 5:5, and 22:16), because as the predicted Seed of David He inherits David’s throne and Kingdom, and hence his personality, as covenanted, must be distinctively observed. It is, therefore, both reasonable and requisite to find them in such a book.[*]
Note. The outgrowths of spiritualizing these promises run into the most painful evidences of complete ignorance of covenanted promises. The most extravagant and foolish vagary is found in Davis (Seven Thunders, p. 151 and 153), who makes Christ, at His Second appearing, “an American.” This is equalled by several writers, who, also ignoring Christ’s Davidic relationship and inheritance, make the Fifth Monarchy or Kingdom of Daniel the United States, (as e.g. Berg, etc). Such outrageous interpretation, violating the covenants and the general analogy of the Word, are not worthy of a serious rejoinder.
Obs. 14. The fulfilment of the covenant promises implies, in view of this restored Davidic throne and Kingdom, that the Messianic Kingdom is a visible, external Kingdom, not merely spiritual, although embracing spiritual and divine things. Its visibility, and a corresponding acknowledgment of the same, is a feature inseparable from the language of promise (comp. Props. 117, 112, 122, etc.).
Obs. 15. The covenanted Davidic throne and Kingdom, allied as it is with the Jewish nation (particularly with Judah and Benjamin), necessarily requires, in order to a future restoration, a preservation of the nation. This has been done; and to-day we see that nation wonderfully continued down to the present, although enemies, including the strongest nations and most powerful empires, have perished. This is not chance work; for, if our position is correct, this is demanded, seeing that without a restoration of the nation it is impossible to restore the Davidic Kingdom. The covenant language, the oath of God, the confirmation of promise by the blood of Jesus, the prophetic utterances—all, notwithstanding the nation’s unbelief, requires its perpetuation, that through it finally God’s promises and faithfulness may be vindicated. God so provides that His Word may be fulfilled. Every Jew, if we will but ponder the matter, that we meet on our streets is a living evidence that the Messiah will yet some day reign gloriously on David’s throne and over his Kingdom, from which to extend a world-wide dominion.